St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

New rescue system may save lives

By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 17, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- Boaters in distress may soon find it easier to get help on the high seas.

The Tampa Bay region will be one of the first in the United States to receive the Coast Guard's "Rescue 21" system, which proponents call a "maritime 911."

"This will take the search out of search and rescue," said Petty Officer Paul Rhynard of the Seventh Coast Guard District Public Affairs. "This is not an upgrade. It is a total replacement of the national distress system."

General Dynamics of Scottsdale, Ariz., was awarded the $611-million contract to produce and deploy the system, then provide support to Coast Guard units throughout the United States.

"This will fill in the coverage gaps in the existing VHF/FM system," Rhynard said. "And it will allow simultaneous communication on multiple channels ... as many as six at a time."

Boaters in need of assistance have had difficulties communicating on the Coast Guard's emergency frequency, Channel 16, without being interrupted or "stepped on" by other boaters.

Deployment of the Rescue 21 system should occur here late in the summer of 2003.

Officials expect the system to be working in all coastal waters of the continental United States by September 2005 and in all other regions by September 2006.

Other introductory areas are Atlantic City; eastern shore of Maryland; Port Angeles, Wash.; Mobile, Ala.; and Seattle regions.

The system eventually will be operational in Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Currently, the Coast Guard uses the National Distress and Response System to monitor distress calls and coordinate search and rescue missions.

This network of VHF-FM antenna sites with analog transceivers is controlled by regional communication centers and rescue boat stations that cover about 20 nautical miles out to sea.

"The new system also will give us improved direction-finding equipment that will let us zero in with a plus or minus of two degrees," Rhynard said.

The system will help speed up search and rescue operations. Rescue 21's digital selective calling capability will be able to instantly transmit a vessel's name, location, nature of distress and other vital information in conjunction with an integrated Global Positioning System receiver and registered Maritime Mobile Service Identity number.

"This will allow us to communicate more effectively with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies," Rhynard said. "That is important in terms of homeland security."

There are more than 80-million boaters on 13-million vessels in U.S. waters, the greatest number in the nation's history.

Each year the Coast Guard conducts 40,000 search and rescue missions that save about 4,000 lives.

NEW FACES: Group St. Petersburg has a new commander, Capt. Daniel Neptun. He will be in charge of all surface units on the west coast of Florida and coordinate all search and rescue operations and law enforcement duties.

Neptun comes to the area from Washington. Neptun started as a seaman recruit and worked his way up the chain of command.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Harris recently took command of Station St. Petersburg and will be responsible for Tampa Bay and nearby coastal waters.

Harris has been in the Coast Guard 25 years.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

College football
  • One season later, Seminoles exact revenge
  • Gators' win bittersweet
  • A prime time
  • Iowa fans storm Minnesota field
  • SEC: Georgia clinches East with fourth-down TD
  • Big Ten: Bigger scare than usual for Ohio St.
  • State: Golden Knights top Flashes, stay alive in MAC
  • Unknown Gators have banner day
  • Injuries hit Gators' top wide receivers
  • Florida by the numbers
  • Blackwell leaves home a big winner
  • Falcons get desperate in search of offense
  • South Florida by the numbers
  • Big East: Late field goal lifts Owls past Rutgers
  • C-USA: Black Knights break two losing streaks
  • Pac-10: Huskies humble Ducks
  • Nation: Colorado State wins 5th straight
  • Boldin returns to best form at last
  • Injuries put freshmen in backfield
  • Florida State by the numbers
  • Big 12: Red Raiders outgun 'Horns
  • ACC: N.C. State falters 3rd straight week

  • College hoops
  • The madness comes to Tampa
  • March to Madness
  • Nos. 1, 2 get early matchup
  • ACC to discover its stars
  • FAU survives Cleveland St.

  • Preps
  • Federenko leads Falcons to state
  • AHN girls, Jesuit boys in state meet
  • Bucs not their best in final
  • Seminole finally gets past Largo
  • 3 from Pasco Co. collect five titles
  • Forry outlasts Lyons for title
  • Mustangs dominate yet again
  • Panthers refuse to lose
  • Final doesn't go Berkeley Prep's way
  • Indian Rocks girls nip Berkeley Prep

  • More sports
  • New NASCAR poster boy won't pose for honor
  • Highs & lows
  • Change of heart clears way for Hampton deal
  • Baldelli carries breakout into AFL
  • Mavericks stay perfect
  • Division-leading Flyers, Bruins play to tie
  • Palmer sparks a Warburg rally
  • Slap shots
  • Wimmer passes dried-up Keller to win BGN finale at Homestead
  • Rejected appeal keeps Martin a title longshot
  • Stewart bumps photographer, apologizes
  • New rescue system may save lives
  • NFL Game Day: Week 11
  • Packers making early run
  • Taylor hit with fine for gesture

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Letters
  • Paterno column a disgrace

  • Bucs
  • Bucs prepared to face tough times
  • Assistants set new standard
  • High profile -- Simeon Rice
  • Chucky's Chalk Talk
  • ''It's not all about biceps (or triceps)

  • Letters
  • Athletes can learn a lot from Alstott

  • Lightning
  • A big shot at legitimacy
  • Andreychuk keeps focus on No. 600


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts